Thousand Yard Stare

When you looked like that,

Your eyes seeing another time and place,

I knew.

Soft brown somehow turned black,

Pupils blown,

And I knew.

Something had to give,

To pay for your service to the Queen,

When you weren’t seen.

The troubles affected your mind;

I knew you would turn to me.

I’d listen for the creak in the hallway,

Late at night,

When all were asleep,

‘Cept you and me,

Though I pretended to be,

Arms pinned rigidly either side of my body,

Duvet trapped,

As I barely breathed,

Heart thumping in my ears,

Fears rising so high they might shatter into shards in the next moment.

Fists clenched tight against my thighs,

Tense stillness mixing hope and listening, 


For your almost silent footfall.

Mouth arid but a desperate swallow,

Frightening in the sound it makes because




Could cause you to attack.

But it wasn’t that, was it?

Not me,

Not my body’s natural urges to move, no.

It was you,

What happened to you,

What they did to you,

What you didn’t express.


What you couldn’t express.

When I Write About Rape

Poem and call and response song

When I write about rape

It takes its toll on my body

As pain, grief, rage spiral

Threatening to pull me apart

With the tension of

Wanting to stay

And wanting to run.

Thinking she knew when I was 9

How could she not?

How could she not?

I saw the signs…

His body tightly sprung,

Ever more so as the day wore on.

How could she not?

How could she not?

As bedtime drew close

And I’m sick on the floor,

Begging to extend my time with the telly

In the relative safety of the lounge,

But no,

Disgusted by my plea,

She sent me to bed.

How could she not?

How could she not?

I hate bedtime even now,

40 years on.

It’s okay for him.

He’s dead and gone,

But I’m still here

With a tightly wound body

That remembers what my mind forgot.

Only now, I’m not losing the plot.

I’m seeing clearly how we forgot

Our connection to Earth

And the object projection that entails

The lack of relationship with

Our Great Mother,

Makes it necessary to treat one another

As things to conquer, to control,

But actually all we need,

As 4 young men once said, is love.

Reciprocal love that comes by

Singing and listening

To the animism present in everything,

Which makes things beings.


The chair you sit on.

The shoes that got you here.

The trees, oh, the trees with

Whom songs appear

When we listen.

I Am Loving Her Now

Just sit and be still;

Meagre sounds compete with massive silence.

Giving myself to it in a different way now,

Yet tinges of teenage angst touch me with cold, sad fingers,

And I need to grieve for her,

For the self who ate to feel love,

Then purged to rid shame,

Over and over and over.

For her unwavering measurement of worth

Taken in the flatness of her tummy,

As she cast her critical eye in the mirror,

And carefully counted out 200 sit ups.

Her daily prescriptions created control,

With love nowhere to be seen.

And I am loving her now.

I am opening my arms to her,

Telling her,

Showing her

She is enough,





And I love her.

I love her awkward shyness

And her brash, loud ‘big I am’,

Her need for solitude

And to play childish games,

I love her intelligence,

Often missed at school,

And I love her big heart that still can love the people who hurt her,

That ability to empathise,

And imagine;

I love her desire to be markedly different,

And her longing to belong,

Her ways of experimenting with clothes,

And gentle rebellions.

And I love her because there’ll never be another like her,

So my heart squeezes tears from my eyes

When I see her try to take her life.

And I whisper to the family dog,

Who wakes up the parents,

Who take her to hospital,

Where she is stitched up by a nurse with no compassion.

And I gently blow love into her

And walk with her all the way to now.

We are together.

Together we sit 

And ease ourselves into the massive silence.

Loving You is Beautiful

Being with you is beautiful

However you are

Whatever you’re feeling.

I love you.

I welcome you back.

Together we navigate;

I couldn’t do it alone.

We are strong together

Sharing what we know

And what we don’t

On the edge of 

Finding things out.

I see you.

You are not what happened to you.

You are beautiful.

You did what you could

And your body

Created splits

Like rivers forking

All part of the one

In their fractal

Roaming of the earth.

It’s wonderful to see you

And to love you

And be loved by you.

We are not broken.

We don’t need to be fixed.

What we need is presence

For our parts to be mixed.

I wrote that before I really

Knew what it meant.

But I felt it in my being.

The whole of me knew its truth,

Grounded in a desire to mingle

And know each other,

No longer hidden.

Sometimes it’s easy to see

What we need to look at

And sometimes we hide it

From ourselves.

I’ve often said don’t go digging,

But create the conditions

For it to bubble up naturally.

Defences can be high

In everyday life.

Altered states take them away

And with them

They carry away shame

Leaving just the memories

And a sense of love

For the part that went through that.

It’s so freeing

And loving.

There’s a tension between

What’s legal and 

What can help billions of people.

I feel it in my heart:

The yearning for

A loving society

That cares

And collaborates

And chills

And plays

And weeps


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